Tenet User Reviews/Reactions [Possible SPOILERS]

An original action espionage film releasing in IMAX on August 12, 2020
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Just caught my third theatrical viewing. Cinemark and Regal is open in the Sacramento area (I'm in Elk Grove specifically). I don't know when Regal opened up, but Cinemark opened Friday and that's where I saw it, 5:05 PM viewing on a Sunday.

It was one of the screens with the ten reclining seats across and six rows deep (plus handicap seating in the back). I was absolutely the only person in that screening the entire time, also confirmed by the seating chart right before the movie started. For reference, I popped my head into a 5:35 PM screening, and I definitely at least saw one person in there who was at least talking with some other chair lol, so I assume a few were in that showing.

One could argue the sheer vacancy is because the 49ers were playing Sunday Night Football I guess, but honestly I wouldn't know the place was opened unless I actively searched it up myself. I can guarantee you if a megaphone could call out to my entire city that theaters were open, they'd fill up to whatever "max capacity" is considered to be, even if Tenet is like the only new movie in theater.

Anyway, about the movie. The dialogue was crystal clear. I picked up nearly every word, including the helmet audio during the catamaran scene and the intercom audio in the red/blue room. I also heard Sator on the Yacht during his phone call with Protag. I don't know if things have since been adjusted or if certain kinds of theaters bring about certain kinds of mixings, but one thing for sure is I don't think people would have complained about the audio in the screening I saw. The film may be fast-paced, confusing, and need multiple watches all the same... but not because of the dialogue, not this time. This puts my mind at ease for the impending home video release.

As for the movie and previous speculations I have made...

I can say with 99% certainty that Max and Neil are the same person. I don't mind the debate on this one, but any devil's advocate positions can pretty much be argued against, including Neil caring for Kat's well-being (as well as he is able to or as much as he needs to). And honestly, it makes the movie much better keeping that knowledge in mind.

Anyway, although I rank Nolan's movies differently when it comes to "best vs. favorite" and this doesn't stack up as one of my favorite Nolan movies, I do think it's Nolan's second best movie behind The Prestige. What was needed in the writing and directing to create what he did is pretty mind-bending in and of itself. Maybe it'll wane a bit with time, but I don't think this movie really has many flaws and is pretty tightly woven. Incomprehensibility in this case is simply synonymous with lack of understanding, and can be further understood with discussions and repeat viewings.

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I liked it, can't say I loved it (I had a similar reaction to Dunkirk). There's something unnatural on how everything is presented. The concept is so out-there the mind (or at least mine) has difficulties following things. My other issue with it is the characters are all kinda flat, this deserved some cool big baddie and not Branagh doing some 90's schlock villain imitation.

I believe lots of things will become much clearer on repeated viewings.

Nolan keeps cementing himself on a league of his own.

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I really enjoyed!!!! Finally got to this it. Haven’t decided on a grade yet.

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Hi,
I am new to this forum, so if this post is misplaced, please feel free to move or delete it. Thanks.
I have seen TENET once, and the only other Nolan-movies I have watched are Memento and Insomnia.
I enjoyed TENET, but I am still chewing on a few questions. If they already have been asked and answered, please forgive me and point me in the right direction.
There are four things I did not truely understand, and maybe someone knows the answer:
- The Protagonist obviously has not too much trouble killing people "if need be". Why is he so incredibly intent on keeping Kat alive? It seems to me that he should be (secretly) in love with her, because what else would motivate him to risk everything, including his own live and the world's future for her wellbeing? But on the other hand, I did not "see" him being in love with her. Did I miss it, or is there a different motivation?
- Through the glass in the warehouse one can see the future unfolding (or the inverted future going backwards). So, Wheeler tells the Protagonist to not go into the machine if he does not see himself coming out of it. But ... if he does not come out of it, and b/c of that does not go into it, wouldn't it be necessary that he does not come out of it? (My mind is going in circles on this one. Basically, what I mean is: If not coming out in the future leads to not going in in the present, doesn't the future thus dictate the present? And is that possibly *the*point* of this scene?)
- I gathered the piece of a wall riddled with all the bullets shown in the beginning is from the fight in the end. What I just did not get is, how it ended up wherever the lab is (and only this one tiny piece was found, nothing more), and does that mean the lab scene in the beginning is taking place long after the fight at the end of the movie?
- And in the same vein, Neil tells the Protagonist in the end, that it was him who hired Neil in the future. But why would he? The fight had already taken place? What have I missed?
Apologies, if these might be considered beginner's questions here. But I did not know where else to turn to with these.
Thanks. Best, jeenycom

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jeenycom wrote:
October 11th, 2020, 7:25 am
Hi,
I am new to this forum, so if this post is misplaced, please feel free to move or delete it. Thanks.
I have seen TENET once, and the only other Nolan-movies I have watched are Memento and Insomnia.
I enjoyed TENET, but I am still chewing on a few questions. If they already have been asked and answered, please forgive me and point me in the right direction.
There are four things I did not truely understand, and maybe someone knows the answer:
- The Protagonist obviously has not too much trouble killing people "if need be". Why is he so incredibly intent on keeping Kat alive? It seems to me that he should be (secretly) in love with her, because what else would motivate him to risk everything, including his own live and the world's future for her wellbeing? But on the other hand, I did not "see" him being in love with her. Did I miss it, or is there a different motivation?
- Through the glass in the warehouse one can see the future unfolding (or the inverted future going backwards). So, Wheeler tells the Protagonist to not go into the machine if he does not see himself coming out of it. But ... if he does not come out of it, and b/c of that does not go into it, wouldn't it be necessary that he does not come out of it? (My mind is going in circles on this one. Basically, what I mean is: If not coming out in the future leads to not going in in the present, doesn't the future thus dictate the present? And is that possibly *the*point* of this scene?)
- I gathered the piece of a wall riddled with all the bullets shown in the beginning is from the fight in the end. What I just did not get is, how it ended up wherever the lab is (and only this one tiny piece was found, nothing more), and does that mean the lab scene in the beginning is taking place long after the fight at the end of the movie?
- And in the same vein, Neil tells the Protagonist in the end, that it was him who hired Neil in the future. But why would he? The fight had already taken place? What have I missed?
Apologies, if these might be considered beginner's questions here. But I did not know where else to turn to with these.
Thanks. Best, jeenycom
Welcome!

1) This is hard to answer since you're loading it by stating he doesn't have a problem killing people, as if that is something that you're clinging onto with Kat being some reversal of that idea. He is an agent and with his license has been able to execute bad people without a second's hesitation and guilty conscience, but that doesn't mean he can't care or love. Hell, look at Bond. And to that point, we can ask the same thing about Bond regarding why he does anything for anybody that becomes his own personal mission.

Anyway, regarding Kat, he just felt bad I guess. His mission involved getting close to Sator, he did that by getting to Kat, she fed him her story, and he promised something because he probably felt it would be killing two birds with one stone. On the other hand, the scene where Kat said she wanted to leave before getting too attached is an important one to me. She was speaking of an emotion that a lot of us feel when we start to know somebody too long.

I do find it interesting that a lot of people question this emotional decision Protag made and yet say that he has no character, when in fact we actually learn a lot about him through his actions, this being one of them. I'm not calling you out specifically, I'm just making the general statement about it. Nolan actually gives him something people can cling onto, and then they decide it's a questionable trait heh.


2) Your presumption is only true if you believe in Neil's "What's happened, happened philosophy. Same could hold true for the idea of touching your past self and causing annihilation: if you invert and then high-five yourself to self-implode or whatever, then wouldn't that have already happened before you inverted? The paradoxical questions are hard to answer, though if Neil is wrong about fate holding true in this regard then maybe you open a ripple to a parallel universe, something like that.

But consider the alternative: if you don't see yourself coming out the other side, then maybe that means you either don't successfully get into the machine in the first place or you die during the inversion process. It could be a sign of it telling you not to pursue further, because any more steps toward it maybe means that you walk into a trap where somebody kidnaps, injures, or kills you and removes you from the area before you ever go in, so maybe it's safest to just walk away. When considering Neil "What's happened, happened" scenario, clearly you didn't successfully invert, so it's not something you should consider doing if so.

Some people online theorize that the grandfather paradox will always prevent you from killing your grandfather even if you want/try to, like you'll get hit by a bus or get a heart attack before you get the chance. Maybe these kinds of things happen here as well.


3) This will also probably help the answer to #4 as well. If you didn't catch this on a first watch, then you likely will on the second watch. Protag, Neil, and Kat all continue inverting ten days back to June 14th, or some time before that to prepare. On June 14th, three events occurred: the opera siege, the battle at Stalsk-12, and the Kat-Sator yacht jamboree. So after they re-inverted at the Oslo Freeport to get things back to normal (healing Kat of her inverted bullet wound), they have the conversation about when they think their current time-traveling Sator will pick as his last really happy moment before he dies, which was on his yacht with [another] Kat. They meet up with Ives and invert back in the several more days alongside all of the soldiers training for inversion battle.

Anyway, with the battle of Stalsk-12 occurring on the same day as the opera siege, that means that the meet up with Barbara (as she provides inversion exposition) does take place after that battle.


4) So if my answer to #3 made some sense, you might get the gist that the latest point in the film's timeline that we ever actually get to is when Protag and crew invert themselves in the red-blue room. We never see what happens after that moment. The whole movie is really just one large temporal pincer movement. Keep that in mind regarding the idea that people sometimes invert for long, long periods of time. They can house themselves inside oxygen chambers so they don't always have to wear a mask.

At some point beyond the movie's timeline of what we see, current Protag and some other version of Neil (maybe a growing up Max, heh) become close friends and have a bit of a life together. This Protag has briefed this Neil on what they have to do to save the world after what he had experienced (probably leaving certain parts out), trains him, and Neil will have to invert himself back quite a while into the past to get things moving (such as the first occurrence where we see this version of Neil is when he saves Protag at the opera house by shooting a S.W.A.T. member with an inverted bullet).

At some point during this time, Tenet is formed. Maybe Protag went back with Neil during this large time and actually forms the group (probably in some sort of "Ponzi scheme" way where nobody knows who actually started it in the beginning but spreads exponentially), but that version of him stays out of the movie for the entire time we see him (meaning the version that went back in time with Neil, if in fact he actually did that). Either that, or Neil formed Tenet on behalf of Protag. Not sure.

Maybe you weren't confused about all of that, though. The question you're asking is why. If he doesn't, then they can't go back and repeat what happened, and Sator will accomplish his deed of securing the Algorithm for future people to invert the world's entropy and end it. This movie, alongside others with these perpetual time-travel ideas, are hard to wrap our heads around because of the loops, paradoxes, and commitment to do the same thing as was done before. Again, what's happened has happened, thus it needs to keep happening and it will. Nolan did this in Interstellar as well with the tesseract/bookcase scene.

Anyway, I know these can be confusing without visuals or the back-and-forth, but that was my attempt at answering your questions. I hope they cover small bits, and I hope somebody adds on or corrects me if I didn't really get everything squared away appropriately. :)

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jeenycom wrote:
October 11th, 2020, 7:25 am
Hi,
I am new to this forum, so if this post is misplaced, please feel free to move or delete it. Thanks.
I have seen TENET once, and the only other Nolan-movies I have watched are Memento and Insomnia.
I enjoyed TENET, but I am still chewing on a few questions. If they already have been asked and answered, please forgive me and point me in the right direction.
There are four things I did not truely understand, and maybe someone knows the answer:
- The Protagonist obviously has not too much trouble killing people "if need be". Why is he so incredibly intent on keeping Kat alive? It seems to me that he should be (secretly) in love with her, because what else would motivate him to risk everything, including his own live and the world's future for her wellbeing? But on the other hand, I did not "see" him being in love with her. Did I miss it, or is there a different motivation?
- Through the glass in the warehouse one can see the future unfolding (or the inverted future going backwards). So, Wheeler tells the Protagonist to not go into the machine if he does not see himself coming out of it. But ... if he does not come out of it, and b/c of that does not go into it, wouldn't it be necessary that he does not come out of it? (My mind is going in circles on this one. Basically, what I mean is: If not coming out in the future leads to not going in in the present, doesn't the future thus dictate the present? And is that possibly *the*point* of this scene?)
- I gathered the piece of a wall riddled with all the bullets shown in the beginning is from the fight in the end. What I just did not get is, how it ended up wherever the lab is (and only this one tiny piece was found, nothing more), and does that mean the lab scene in the beginning is taking place long after the fight at the end of the movie?
- And in the same vein, Neil tells the Protagonist in the end, that it was him who hired Neil in the future. But why would he? The fight had already taken place? What have I missed?
Apologies, if these might be considered beginner's questions here. But I did not know where else to turn to with these.
Thanks. Best, jeenycom
Welcome to the Forum mate :gonf:
1.IMO, Protag does not kill innocent people that's why he was keen to keep Kat alive also Nolan tried to create little emotional bonding in movie with help of these two.
2.You never see future mate. You might see numerous version of yourself in same time frame but never the future. And I don't think Wheeler said any of what you said in your question, it happens as follows: before taking Kat in Turnstile Protag asks "Do you think this will work?" to which Ives points and says "See it for yourself". And that wasn't future, they were just existing in same time frame.
3.Time isn't exactly mentioned but I guess it's a week or two which is what Protag spends in between Opera house heist and meeting Barbara, the scientist.
4.The movie is a loop. As Priya said "Tenet isn't the organisation found in the past but it is organisation found in the future". So after final battle ended Protag realises he is the one setting everything in motion (See Protag-Priya scene in the end).
Next time if you have any doubts/queries please use Discussion/Speculation Thread

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MuffinMcFluffin wrote:
October 11th, 2020, 10:41 am


Welcome!
Caped Crusader wrote:
October 11th, 2020, 11:03 am

Welcome to the Forum mate :gonf:


Thanks! And thanks as well for your thoughts! This has kept me up at night ... now, hopefully, I can sleep again. ;)

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Just saw it in 15/70mm IMAX at the Esquire in Sacramento. This is my fourth time seeing the film.

I was relatively underwhelmed by the experience in comparison to what I possibly expected, and I don't know specifically what it was. It's a large screen, but compared to the AMC Metreon in San Francisco, it's not quite as large and you're not quite as close (and by "close" I mean still being at a good angle)... not to mention the sound, although loud, did not boast strong LFE like my last two showings I checked out. Now, I was able to hear all of the dialogue, and that has been the case in both of my October viewings whereas my two September viewings (all in different theaters by the way) the dialogue was very hard of hearing. Perhaps they've mixed things differently, but I don't really know.

Anyway, the other two underwhelming portions resided in the aspect ratio changes and some of the needlessness of IMAX for this flick. This is a UHD/Blu-ray that I am absolutely going to make a constant 2.20:1 AR disc for, which I also did with Dunkirk (and that was a great IMAX experience with very few AR changes). Anyway, in watching, I felt that this one didn't really "need" IMAX compared to that of TDKR, Interstellar, and Dunkirk. I'm pretty disappointed the red/blue room sequence wasn't in IMAX, and as someone mentioned the last shot also wasn't in IMAX even though some parts of the scene were.

Unless I do some more free viewings nearby or catch a San Francisco IMAX showing, I think I'm going to wait for home video. This Nolan flick is top-tier when it comes to the production side of things (and I'm mostly referring to Nolan's writing/directing), but as an audience member I'm now yielding diminishing returns when it comes to what I can get out of it.

One moment that I thought was hilarious, and what almost sounded like a mistake in editing (but reading that part of the screenplay I confirmed that's as was intended), is when Protag plans to go out on the freeway inverted, Ives describes his actions as "cowboy shit." Then a minute later when Wheeler is briefing him on his breathing/actions being inverted and Protag asks if he can drive a car, offscreen you hear Ives once again say: "Cowboy shit." I snorted out loud when I heard it, almost like it was an insert of his earlier line.

Another "Max is Neil" moment was this dialogue exchange between Protag and Neil:

PROTAGONIST
Who recruited you, Neil?

NEIL
It can’t possibly do you any good
to know that right now. When this
is over, if we’re still standing
and you still care, you can hear my
life story
, okay?


Why would a life story matter for who recruited him, even if Protag only recruited him a few life-years prior (whether he did it in the future or past is irrelevant here to that point)? And yes, I know that "life story" can be used as a sarcastic saying on his end in response to Protag incessantly pegging him with questions.

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MuffinMcFluffin wrote:
October 17th, 2020, 9:08 pm
Just saw it in 15/70mm IMAX at the Esquire in Sacramento. This is my fourth time seeing the film.

I was relatively underwhelmed by the experience in comparison to what I possibly expected, and I don't know specifically what it was. It's a large screen, but compared to the AMC Metreon in San Francisco, it's not quite as large and you're not quite as close (and by "close" I mean still being at a good angle)... not to mention the sound, although loud, did not boast strong LFE like my last two showings I checked out. Now, I was able to hear all of the dialogue, and that has been the case in both of my October viewings whereas my two September viewings (all in different theaters by the way) the dialogue was very hard of hearing. Perhaps they've mixed things differently, but I don't really know.

Anyway, the other two underwhelming portions resided in the aspect ratio changes and some of the needlessness of IMAX for this flick. This is a UHD/Blu-ray that I am absolutely going to make a constant 2.20:1 AR disc for, which I also did with Dunkirk (and that was a great IMAX experience with very few AR changes). Anyway, in watching, I felt that this one didn't really "need" IMAX compared to that of TDKR, Interstellar, and Dunkirk. I'm pretty disappointed the red/blue room sequence wasn't in IMAX, and as someone mentioned the last shot also wasn't in IMAX even though some parts of the scene were.

Unless I do some more free viewings nearby or catch a San Francisco IMAX showing, I think I'm going to wait for home video. This Nolan flick is top-tier when it comes to the production side of things (and I'm mostly referring to Nolan's writing/directing), but as an audience member I'm now yielding diminishing returns when it comes to what I can get out of it.

One moment that I thought was hilarious, and what almost sounded like a mistake in editing (but reading that part of the screenplay I confirmed that's as was intended), is when Protag plans to go out on the freeway inverted, Ives describes his actions as "cowboy shit." Then a minute later when Wheeler is briefing him on his breathing/actions being inverted and Protag asks if he can drive a car, offscreen you hear Ives once again say: "Cowboy shit." I snorted out loud when I heard it, almost like it was an insert of his earlier line.

Another "Max is Neil" moment was this dialogue exchange between Protag and Neil:

PROTAGONIST
Who recruited you, Neil?

NEIL
It can’t possibly do you any good
to know that right now. When this
is over, if we’re still standing
and you still care, you can hear my
life story
, okay?


Why would a life story matter for who recruited him, even if Protag only recruited him a few life-years prior (whether he did it in the future or past is irrelevant here to that point)? And yes, I know that "life story" can be used as a sarcastic saying on his end in response to Protag incessantly pegging him with questions.
"cowboy shit"
is gold...Aaron Taylor Johnson while underutilized was solid. MAybe an actor Nolan can bring in again.

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Been thinking a lot about this movie lately, which never happened with dunkirk. And I still haven't watched it again.
This one will age well I think.

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